Late last year I decided to move to a mostly me-made wardrobe. As I wrote in Ten Ways to a More Ethical Wardrobe, “Obviously, this is a long-term, take-it-a-step-at-a-time proposition. Still, the freedom inherent in being able to decide for yourself what cloth, cut and colour you want, instead of being forced to choose from a limited number of options, is very alluring.”
It was the extremely limited number of options available in ladies’ underclothing that finally sparked my rebellion. I was used to my clothing preferences leaving me with reduced choice in the vast ocean of mass-produced fashion. I wasn’t expecting to be left with no choice but a scratchy, lurid beige thing which didn’t even resemble the image on its own label. (I bet you didn’t know beige could be lurid. Neither did I.)
It’s the last day of the year – can you believe it? To go along with it, we have the last chapter of the Wardrobe Architect: Adding Accessories.
The exercise is fairly simple: figure out what qualities you want in your accessories, decide what accessories your capsule wardrobe calls for, look at what you’ve already got, and then address the surplus or deficit, as the case may be. Straightforward, yes?
The complication arises when you consider what falls under the heading of “accessories” – the original post includes hats, scarves, belts, gloves, shoes, bags, sunglasses, “legwear” and jewellery (mops brow). On the other hand, since we’re setting up a capsule wardrobe here (whether seasonal or permanent) we’re not looking at special occasion stuff, just your ordinary everyday items.Continue & Comment
Yes, I’ve merged episodes 10 and 11. Why? Two reasons: every time I tried thinking about 10, my thought process went via 11; and since I’ll be NaNoing next month, who knows what kind of condition I’ll be in for sensible forward planning by then?
The task (I was going to say the main task, but there is only one) for episode 10 is to select a capsule palette from your chosen colours for your next season’s wardrobe. Since, as previously mentioned, I’m not looking to revamp my wardrobe twice a year in perpetuity, I’m going for one capsule-sized wardrobe that will just keep working forever (with natural die-off and replacement).
I call it “ambitious simplicity”.
The task for episode 11 is basically to match up your chosen garments with your chosen colours.
So here’s how I see this working. The two long, full skirts would both be dark browns, but probably of different hues or textures. Neutral, is the main point.
Also neutral: the coat, the jacket, and the four sorts of footwear, plus the other kinds of things you only want one of, or want to wear with everything (see Miss Silver’s sixth precept).
The three warm woollies – the shawl, the cardigan and the waistcoat – would be in the near-neutrals: mahogany, forest green and aubergine. Mahogany shawl, I think; forest green cardigan and aubergine waistcoat. (Or possibly vice versa.)
The half dozen long-sleeved shirts could be any colour, but it’s the best place for statement colours: rich reds, hazel, plum, deep rose, buttery yellow. Any Of The Above, in fact; or even the ‘metallics’ as long as they’re not actually shiny. I love deep gold and coppery bronze but I don’t care for glitter. I could even add other colours if I felt like it, as long as they work with dark brown and at least one of the near-neutrals.
Thus, each outfit would consist of a colourful shirt, a warm woolly that goes well with it (e.g. deep rose shirt with aubergine waistcoat, hazel shirt with forest green cardigan, rich red shirt with mahogany shawl), and a skirt – plus coat, shoes etc – in the classic brown that goes with everything.
The three summer dresses would be best in lighter colours, to reflect the summer heat. Buttery yellow, deep rose, and perhaps calico or hazel. Making sure that the shawl would work with any of the colours would ensure a warm layer was available if the evening turned cold, and of course the brown sandals will work with any of them.
The downside of all this is how far it is from my actual wardrobe. But at least it gives me something to work toward! Little by little, as my present wardrobe wears out, I can add items that fit the plan, whether bought second-hand, made myself, or ethically acquired new.
How do your colours and garments match up? Feel free to take a couple of months over this – we won’t be moving on to the complex question of accessories (the last step!) till December.